drizzle of honey
2 TBSP yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup honey
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
5+ cups flour (may take up to 9 cups)
Combine 1/2 cup warm water, drizzle of honey, and yeast in a large bowl. When the yeast is foamy, add the rest of the ingredients in the order listed. Add flour until the dough is smooth, and knead for about 10 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, oil the top of the dough and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down. To make the braids, divide the dough into eight equal parts and roll each piece into a rope about 14 inches long and an inch thick. Lay four ropes side by side and pinch the tops together. Braid tightly, starting on the left, by taking the left rope over two ropes and under one. Continue the pattern until the braid is complete and fold the ends under. Repeat for the second loaf. Place braids on greased baking sheets and cover. Let rise in a warm place for 25-30 minutes.
Brush the tops of the dough with a beaten egg (or two), and bake at 350˚ for 30-40 minutes, until done. Cool, covered, on wire racks.